The Korea Herald


Revision seeks to allow easier use of firearms against illegal fishing

By 김윤미

Published : Dec. 17, 2016 - 10:21

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The South Korean coast guard may soon be exempted from responsibilities for any damages or loss of private property caused by their use of firearms while cracking down on illegal fishing, as long as their use of force is within legal boundaries, a bill submitted Saturday proposed.

Under the revision submitted by Rep. Hwang Young-cheul of the ruling Saenuri Party, the coast guard will be allowed to use firearms should a ship disobey an order three times to stop or withdraw from a specific area.

An immediate use of force will be allowed when a ship or its crew members suspected of illegal fishing or other irregularities use violence to avoid inspection.

The South Korean coast guard began using firearms, only when deemed necessary, after one of its patrol boats sank while pursuing a Chinese boat fishing illegally in South Korean waters in October.

The revision apparently seeks to provide legal grounds for the use of deadly force against those using violence.

The bill, if enacted, will exempt the maritime police from legal responsibility for any damage to ships or their crewmembers using violence, according to Hwang.

"The coast guard may use firearms under the exiting law, but is often reluctant to do so due to legal issues," he said. "The proposed revision will help strengthen the country's maritime sovereignty by allowing a stronger response to those violating its territorial waters." (Yonhap)